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Author Topic: variac they claim there cheap and every where????  (Read 2961 times)
N3JBH
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« on: August 10, 2005, 02:35:16 PM »

folk's i allways had great admiration and respect for the elmers here. and i have read sevral times that a variac should be used on restoring old equipment. ok so here is my question folks. where in the blue blazes are you all finding these cheap variac's at? god i want one badly and sure could use one but i read here they can be had for $25.00 if this is true please point me in that direction please !!!  thanks jeff/n3jbh

as i would love to retire my home brewed series fed light buld lattice looking monster i brewed up for the real McCoy.
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KN7T
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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2005, 02:50:36 PM »

There's a never ending supply on E-bay - it just depends on how much you want to spend.  I've seen new chinese made units that didn't seem too expensive for what they were.  You can usually find these things at hamfests too although it might take a bit of digging.
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N6AJR
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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2005, 03:09:24 PM »

I have a couple  one is 5 amp and 1 is 10 amp 0 to 140 volts, I gave away the 240 one.  I bought them all on ebay for like $5 to $10 plus shipping, be sure to get one with the knob, dial plate and housing with coard and plug for the 110 ones.  easier than building a box for the ones with no external housing, ( meant to be used inside with other equipment.

cheep and easy to find.
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N6AJR
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2005, 03:13:36 PM »

I just went to ebay and found 85 listings under the search  Variac  from $9.99 to a couple hundred. more current and more meters cost more,  go look  type in ebay.com
in global search windo type in variac, and peruse.....
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KB9TC
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Posts: 9




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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2005, 03:55:58 PM »

Harbor freight tools has a item for adjusting speed of routers about $10.  they have a web site.  I have one of these things.  It is like a glorified light dimmer.  Will work well for some applications.  doesnt seem to make much hash.  as for ebay, enter a favorite search for variac,or powerstat.  they will email you when one is listed.  probably every day. when I bought mine there were 300 listed,  the low price pickings are good when the supply is good.  Think about the size you need before you go buy the wrong thing.
john kb9tc
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KD8GEH
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Posts: 613




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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2005, 03:58:00 PM »

Mendlesons Surplus in Dayton, Ohio also has them, lots, all flavors.

73, Dave
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N3JBH
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Posts: 2358




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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2005, 04:20:01 PM »

well folks thank you i stand corrected i never dealt with ebay silly be me. guess i was hoping to find a kind sole here on eham to fill the bill so to speak. but i do how ever have to thank you all for your fast response. i feel some what embrassed by this posting now. hummbly saying thanks  jeff/n3jbh
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2005, 04:20:20 PM »

Here's an example of a cute little variac in a box with a knob and a scale, 120V at 10A, currently going for $10...

http://cgi.ebay.com/General-Radio-GenRad-VARIAC-0-140V-10A-Autotransformer_W0QQitemZ7536824132QQcategoryZ73153QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

There's lots more.

WB2WIK/6
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K7PEH
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Posts: 1141




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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2005, 08:06:19 AM »

Apparently N3JBH has never dealt with Ebay and I hope we do not lead him astray thinking that the quoted item will really go for about $10 or so.

I looked it up, it also has a fixed shipping cost of $15 which is probably fair as these variacs are heavy.  And, the bidding is not over yet.  A $10 item such as the one quoted could easily spiral up to $20, $30 or so.  Add to that the shipping and you are looking at $40 to $50 maybe.

There is some interesting economic theories being proposed about Ebay.  Here is one example.  I learned from an HRO store manager that the recent (5 months ago or so) price increase on the Icom 706 MKIIG was directly the result of Ebay.  Apparently, Icom America increased their wholesale price to retailers because the resale prices for 706s on Ebay was getting very close to the street price for a new 706.  Apparently, the Icom folks felt that if people will pay that much for a used 706, they should pay even more for a new one.

There are some foolish bidders too on Ebay that will jack the price up too close to retail or maybe even above retail.  So, they end up paying more than if they merely ordered the item new and had it shipped to them.

However, Ebay is a great leveler of prices that has affected our everyday economy.  It even affects garage sale prices these days (they have gone up on average).  Therefore, economists say "If you want to know the truth value of some item, see what it sells for on average on Ebay".

Therefore, if you want value in a good Variac that can handle a 10 amps or maybe 20 amps, be prepared to pay anywhere between $40 and $75 and sometimes more.  I have a very good one that includes a meter (nice feature) and handles 30 amps at 140 volts max and it cost me $80 plus shipping.  If I need any exercise though, I don't have to go to the club, all I need to do is go out and lift this baby a few times.  Shipping on variaces can easily be equal to the price you pay if you get a good deal low cost wise.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2005, 09:35:31 AM »

K7PEH, good comments about eBay.

I don't use eBay for ham radio equipment at all -- period.  I've never once seen what I thought was a reasonable deal there (based on auction closed selling prices) on any sort of ham gear; I can always get it locally, with a demo and a handshake from the seller, for less money.

However, on items where there are hundreds of the same thing up for auction, so there is a lot of "selling competition," non-radio items can be very good deals.  The "$10 bid price right now" variac might run up to $40 or $50, but it might sell for $10 or $15, because at this moment there are more than 100 of them for sale.  Another slick thing is to find sellers whose ID really identifies who and where they are, so you can call them and make your own shipping arrangements.  I've frequently found the "Plus $25 for Shipping" items were being sold by a guy down the street, who I could call and tell him I'll just stop over with the money and pick it up, and thus save the $25 shipping charge.

For those living near military depots, as probably half the population of the country does, there are some great deals in the local "Pennysaver" and "Recycler" magazines.  Although the typical Tek 475 scope goes for maybe $250 on eBay (plus shipping), I can always find one at a neighborhood garage sale for $100, in perfect working conditon with case, probes and manual, because there are so darned many of them walking out of depots and military bases.  The last scope I picked up, which was 20 years old but in brand-new condx, had very recent calibration tags on it and an engraved plate indicating it was property of the U.S. Air Force at one time.  Probably sold as part of an auction.  

I picked up a 100A regulated 0-20Vdc linear power supply (about 150 lbs), a rack mount, from Picatinny Arsenal, the U.S. Army Research and Development Command, for $25.  It was in like new condition, and my sealed-auction bid for $25.01 was the high bid.  Only drawback is I had to carry it to the car, and I didn't have a dolly.  Better than Wonder Bread.

WB2WIK/6

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K7PEH
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Posts: 1141




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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2005, 10:02:15 AM »

I have made a few very good purchases on Ebay for ham radio equipment.  The most I ever spent though was for my Icom 756 (non-Pro) transceiver.  I paid $740 from another ham operator who was up'ing to a Pro II.  It arrived in execellent condition and I still use it daily.  Judging by the prices, I could probably get the same or more if I sold it today.

My best purchase though was my Tek 475A oscilloscope.  I paid $115 for it and I really wondered what type of condition it would be in when I got it.  Well, no worries.  It is in excellent condition.  I have a frequency counter, a function generator, and this oscilloscope and they all read the same frequencies as generated by my function generator.  So, the time base is excellent.  Triggering circuits work perfectly and also the voltage linearity is very good.  This was a lucky purchase.

Locally, the best place for surplus gear is the Boeing Surplus store in Kent (south Seattle area).  They have all kinds of stuff.  They always have these great little power supplies that give 5 volts regulated or maybe 28 volts regulated at 2 to 10 amps or so.  If nothing else, the transformer for these is worth the cost you pay ($5 or $10 depending on the size).  Some of the stuff though is just too big for my use.  There was one power supply delivering 48 volts I think at about 100 amps or so.  I could not even lift it off of the pallet it was sitting on.  I did buy a 100 amp 5 volt power supply for $15.  To test it, I put a number 4 copper strap across the two terminals and the power supply heated it up quite well and continued to work.  I am saving it for any welding I may need to do.

Boeing Surplus is also a great place for scrap metal such as aluminum, some copper, and titanium.  Titanium is almost impossible to bend, even the sheet stuff.  I was there this last weekend and they had a sheet of aluminum about 12 feet long by 4 feet wide (sitting on a pallet in the back open area) and it was 1 1/2 inches thick.  It sold by the pound for $1.50 per pound and I do not know how much it weighed.  But, I wasn't going to put it on my pickup truck.
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N6AJR
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2005, 01:06:14 PM »

I buy and sell a lot on ebay, ( mostly buy) and have been smoked  exactly twice in around 1000 transactions. once for $2 buck for a computer part from hawaii and another for some photo gear from michigan.  

You have 60 days from the close of auction before Ebay will not take action on a bad seller. the $50 was from a lady, and after I sent the check she waited for it to clear ( about 10 days) then A week after that it had not arrived and I contacted her and she said she had hurt her back and would get it off in a couple of days, then a week later 911 hit and she had to go bury some friends from the  twin towers and so on and when I complained to EBAY it was already after the 60 day period, and I was out of luck, but that is on me too  because I knew the rules..

A great example is last week I bid and won a Kam Plus packet gizmo for $150 plus shipping. the guy did not take pay pal and wanted M.O. or cashiers check, but I eamiled him Before I bid, and told him I was disabled and had trouble getting to the post office , could I send him a check and he said no problem.

 when I won the auction I sent him an email that the check was in the mail, and he went ahead and put the package in the mail the same day I sent the check. He didn't even wait for the check to show up first. so ther ya go folks, from one end to the other.

I have bought stuff for as little a $1 on ebay, ( a music CD) and over $3000 on ebay ( my orion was an ebay baby.) and lots in between.

You doo have to look carefully, and use some care and dilligence, but most folks are pretty honest, and there are safe guards, like read their feed backs, and see what folks have to say.

and don't get caught up in a buyers frenzy, I once sold a low pas filter on ebay  and expected about $25 bucks plus shipping, as new price on them is about $50. the guy that bought it ended up biding 67 bucks, and I actually threw in a couple of nice 6 foot jumpers coaxes because the bid was so hi, he got carried away, but thay is how it goes sometimes.  you as a seller like it, and as a buyer must be careful..

I usually set a max price for mys self, and bid low to start, then when I get to the last minute I put in my absolute max bid  and see how I do, ( its called sharp shooting) some times I get it sometimes I don't..
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